Mayor Bill Ketron issued the following letter to Rutherford County citizens in regards to COVID-19.
Dear valued Rutherford County citizen,
You are the heart of this County and in your respective communities. I realize that during this constantly evolving public health situation you may be uncertain and concerned about what the future may hold. While I empathize with those very emotions, I know that we will get through this.
You also may feel like you have been inundated with messages from federal, state and local authorities. We understand your confusion. Due to the fast-paced dynamics of this unprecedented event, it seems that info changes almost as soon as it is released.
Today, Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 17 (“Order”) mandating alternative business models for restaurants, bars and similar food or drink establishments, including nightclubs, as well as, gyms, fitness/exercise centers and substantially similiar facilities. The Order also prescribes measures to protect our county’s most vulnerable populations. The Order goes into effect 12:01am CDT on March 23, 2020 and continues until 12:01am CDT on April 6, 2020. I am asking each citizen to respect and follow the directions from our Governor.
The Order prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people.
Further, the Order imposes the following provisions relative to restaurants, bars and other similar food and drink establishments:
- “Persons in the State of TN shall not eat or drink onsite at rest, bars, or other similar food or drink establishments.”
- “Restaurants, bars, or other similar food or drink establishments, including nightclubs, shall not be open to persons, except only to offer drive-through, pick-up, carry-out or delivery service for food or drink, and persons are highly encouraged to use drive-through, pickup, carry-out, or delivery options to support such business.”
- The Order also makes provisions relative to the sale and delivery of alcohol by restaurants. Local businesses are encouraged to consult the Order directly to determine whether such provisions apply to your business.
Governor Bill Lee also directs in the Order that “Gyms or fitness/exercise centers or substantially similar facilities shall not be open to members of the public, although persons are highly encouraged to use any available electronic or vitrual fitness options to support such business during this emergency.”
Many of our local establishments have already been practicing the provisions of the Order. I applaud those businesses and call on all businesses referenced in the Order to adhere to its provisions in the interest of public health and safety.
In an effort to keep vulnerable populations safe, the Order also mandates that visitation to nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term or assisted living facilities be suspended with certain limited exceptions. Many of our local facilities have already been limiting visitations, including our County-run care facility. I encourage any citizen who has a family member, friend or other loved-one in one of these facilities to keep in contact with such person via electronic means.
Governor Lee’s announcment also states that “Businesses should consider implementing measures to protect our most vulnerable populations such as offernig delivery service or special opportunites for members of vulnerable populations to shop in retail establishments exclusive of the general population.” The Order futher states that “Tennesseans are encouraged to continue to engage in the healthy and essential activity of daily life, including supporting local business and their employees while adhering to the health and safety measures set forth in the Order, so that we will safeguard to the greates extent possible the economic well-being of so many Tennesseans whose lives and work have been disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure that Tennessee is best positioned to recover following this outbreak.”
I, like Governor Lee, implore our businesses and community members to take all of these measures seriously. Along with issuing the Order, Governor Lee announced that, “our physical and economic health depend on this as we work to beat COVID-19.” I echo this sentiment.
I also want to reiterate the need to follow federal guidelines to slow the spread of the virus:
- If you are sick, stay home
- If you have sick family members in your home, stay home with them
- Cover cough and sneezes
- Wash your hands frequently for more than 20 seconds
- Use hand-sanitizer with 60 percent or more alcohol
- Clean and disinfect your homes and work areas routinely
- Practice social distancing
In addition to these measures, I ask that when possible, you check on our at-risk populations who are sheltering in place. Make sure they have enough groceries, medications, and whatever else they may need to function during this critical time, while at the same time taking all measures necessary to adhere to the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and the Guidance from the Center for Disease Control.
In the interest of public health and safety, our County offices are limited public access as well. All of these changes have been consolidated for your convenience at http://rutherfordcountytn.gov/covid19.
We also now have the option of sharing updates via the #AlertRutherford notification system. To opt-in, text “RCCOVID” to 888777. These notifications will include information from Rutherford County, City of Murfreesboro, Toyn of Smyrna, City of LaVergne and City of Eagleville. You will not be inundated with messages, rather you will receive timely and important updates from your government entities.
Rutherford County – we have met adversities before; though admittedly none like this. We will navigate this journey together and we WILL get through this. Our County is strong and our citizens are even strong. Be well, Rutherford, and may God bless you all.
Rutherford County Mayor
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